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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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vin                      CHURCH OF S. THEODOSIA                       169
The last scene witnessed in this church as a Christian sanctuary was pathetic in the extreme. It was the vigil of the day sacred to the memory of the saint, May 29, 1453. The siege of the city by the Turks had reached its crisis. The morning light would see the Queen of Cities saved or lost. All hearts were torn with anxiety, and the religious fervour of the population rose to the highest pitch. Already, in the course of the previous day, a great procession had gone through the streets of the city, invoking the aid of God and of all His saints. The emperor and the leading personages of his court were in S. Sophia, praying, weeping, embracing one another, forgiving one another, all feeling oppressed by a sense of doom. In the terrible darkness the church of S. Theodosia, ablaze with lighted tapers, gleamed like a beacon of hope. An immense congregation, including many women, filled the building, and prayers ascended to Heaven with unwonted earnestness—when suddenly the tramp of soldiers and strange shouts were heard. Had the city indeed fallen ? The entrance of Turkish troops into the church removed all doubt, and the men and women who had gathered to pray for deliverance were carried off as prisoners of war.1 According to the Belglc Chronicle^ the body of the saint and other relics were thrown into the mire and cast to the dogs.2
Architectural Features
As the building has undergone extensive repairs since it became a mosque, care must be taken to distinguish between the original features of the fabric and Turkish changes and restorations. The pointed dome arches rest on pilasters built against the internal angles of the cross. The dome is windowless, has no internal drum, and externally is octagonal with a low drum and a flat cornice. Dome, arches, and pilasters are all evidently Turkish reconstructions. The gable walls of the transepts and the western wall are also Turkish. As the central apse coincided with the orientation of the mosque, it
1 Ducas, p. 293.                                   2 Du Cange, iv. p. 190,